Updated: Mar 21
My colleague Lynda Quirino, a veteran ghost researcher, and I, as the psychic sidekick, were invited a few years back for a stay at the world class luxury hotel, The Fairmont Banff Springs, just outside of Calgary, Alberta.
Nestled in the magnificent Canadian Rocky Mountains, this awesome hotel boasts a long history dating back to 1888, and was styled on a Scottish baronial castle. We were to present a workshop on ghost hunting, and even before our arrival, had heard whispers about a ghostly bellhop, and bride's apparition, and a 'missing room' in the castle.
It was late evening when we arrived, and when we first viewed at our gorgeous, but darkened rooms, we were already a bit spooked by the atmosphere, and our imaginations, which were naturally in high gear already, went up a notch on the spooked-meter. And it wasn't long before the fun began!
We stopped first at Lynda's room for a brief look, and as we were leaving, Lynda went back to turn off the bedside lamp. After locking the door, she remembered an item she wanted to bring, so she opened the door again, and the light was on. Suspecting that there may have been a sensor or something in the entrance, we walked back and forth and played with closing and opening the door a few times, but nothing happened. Not then. But several times throughout our days at the hotel, this light would mysteriously be on when Lynda came back to her room.
My room was in on the jig too! It was an L-shaped suite, and one morning I wanted to take photos of the mountains through the windows, as the sun rose, so, as there was no central light switch in the room, I had to manually turn off all the lamps to avoid getting a reflection in the photo. I turned off the standing lamp in the corner and then went to turn off the bedside lamps. When I came back to the window, the standing lamp was on. I turned it off - again. By the time I had turned around, one of the bedside lamps was on again. Needless to say, my photos came out with a bit of a reflection in them!
The following day we met with the guest relations manager at the hotel, who had over 40 years of experience in his position. He introduced us to the most haunted areas and regaled us with stories of the alleged ghosts and apparitions that had been seen and reported by many guests over the years.
Legend has it that a long-ago bride, who's gown caught on fire as she walked the candle-bedecked grand staircase leading to the reception ballroom, and caused her untimely death, still roams the staircase trying to reclaim the wedding dance that was stolen from her. As we explored the ballroom, I heard a woman's moan coming from a distance, and also captured some strange faint images in my photographs.
Then there is the case of "Sam', the bellman, who worked his entire life at the hotel, and is apparently still doing his job. Some years ago, two ladies were guests of the hotel on the top floor, and one night found themselves locked out of their room. They used the house phone in the elegant hallway to phone downstairs for help, and were assured that a key would be brought up, but they may need to wait as the staff were all busy at that moment. A minute or two later, a kindly bellman arrived and let them into their room. When they phoned down to the desk to say thank you for the quick service at that late hour, they were astounded to hear that no-one had yet been found to help them, and that there was no-one on staff matching the description of this elderly and kindly gentleman.
And we can't forget the strange case of the 'missing room'.
Apparently at one of the restoration projects many many years ago, the workers made a mistake and one of the rooms on the 8th floor ended up being built without windows, and much smaller than the plan had called for, so instead of advertising their error, they simply boarded it up. Walking through the corridor where this room is gave us chills - it was definitely colder in this section - maybe perhaps because the hotel's ghosts have claimed it as their own?
A personable young waiter in one of the hotel's grand dining rooms shared another story with us. This room, also near the grand staircase, had been raised a few feet as a result of renovations over the years and the actual floor was now quite a bit higher than the original one. Guests have reported seeing the faint images of beautifully gowned women and coat-tailed men dancing and gliding around the room, but only from waist up!
Throughout our investigations as well as our presentation, which included giving a tour to some 60 people in our group, we experienced plenty of strange and spooky happenings, much to our delight, but also to our detriment - at least sleep-wise. It's hard to get a good night's rest when you're sleeping with your lights on!
Those ghosts whom we didn't meet in person nevertheless left other impressions on us, so if you ever visit the Fairmont Banff Springs, you'll be prepared for its 'haunting' beauty.
© Zsuzsana Summer/Arcana New Age Centre. All rights reserved.